Issue 13
In this issue
Message from the Managing Director
H1N1 - Review of the pharmaceutical legislation - New European Parliament & animal health
Latest EU News & Developments
EU Veterinary Week - Caroline Lucas President of the Intergroup on the Welfare and Conservation of Animals
News from IFAH-Europe
DISCONTOOLS disease database goes live - European Pet Night on 24 February 2023
Animal Health News
Pigs and turkeys found to have H1N1
Animal Health Explained
World Rabies Day - IFAH brochure on veterinary medicines and food safety
Calendar of Events
Message from the Managing Director

Dear Reader,

Influenza A (H1N1) remains a great concern to society particularly as we head into the influenza season in the northern hemisphere. It is a human disease. However, we remain vigilant in the animal health area to minimise any possible outbreaks in animals and information flows continuously between the industry and the authorities such that any possible outbreaks are detected and responded to as rapidly as possible.

You will read about our work in the DISCONTOOLS project below. It is ground breaking work as we objectively identify the key gaps in the most important diseases and achieve agreement across all the stakeholders. We can then focus our research effort on these key gaps allowing us to control diseases more effectively in the future. This is even more important in the context of the challenge that we face to supply sufficient food to the Global population as it expands to an estimated 9.5 billion people by 2050 necessitating a doubling of food production.

As indicated in our last edition of Perspectives, we continue to prepare for the review of the veterinary pharmaceutical legislation. Our aim is to ensure that medicines – just like the food from the animals that have been treated with them – can flow freely across the European Union provided of course that they have been licensed according to the European legislation. In an era of financial constraints, we all need to work more efficiently and a sharing of the work across Member States as opposed to the current duplication of effort is nothing more than common sense. We will continue to work hard to achieve such a sensible outcome.

Veterinary Week has become an important event in the animal health calendar. It brings all of the stakeholders together to discuss topical issues and provides an excellent networking opportunity. The Animal Health Law will be an important step forward in bringing a very wide range of legislation into one coherent piece of legislation. From the perspective of veterinary medicines, they will not be included as they are not within the scope just as the training of veterinarians and many other issues remain outside the scope. However, it will be important that both pieces of legislation recognise the needs of each other. In the case of the veterinary pharmaceutical legislation, it needs to facilitate the availability of medicines to allow farmers protect the health and welfare of their animals. This equally applies to the public in the case of pets.

We welcome the new European Parliament and will be working with the members with an interest in animal health as it is a key stakeholder in moulding the veterinary legislation. We need Parliamentarians that understand the need for veterinary medicines and that will champion proportionate legislation ensuring the availability of safe, high quality and effective medicines. Again, this is important for both farm animals and also pets.

Best regards,

Declan O' Brien
Managing Director

Latest EU News & Developments

Enhancing Animal Health in the EU: conference kicks-off EU Veterinary Week 2009

IFAH-Europe attended the kick-off conference to the second edition of the EU Veterinary Week 2009. Attended by over 300 people, the event was an opportunity for the European animal health professionals and authorities to meet and exchange views with EU decision-makers. This year, the kick-off conference focused on the link between animal health and public health under the motto “Animals + Humans = One Health”.

Bernard Vallat, Director General, World Organisation for Animal Health, Androulla Vassiliou, Commissioner for Health, European Commission and Bernard Van Goethem, Director Animal Health and Welfare, European Commission DG SANCO.

Commissioner for Health Androulla Vassiliou announced the launch of the European Commision’s consultation on the new Animal Health Law. “We hope that this new Animal Health Law will provide a single, clearer regulatory framework for all EU animal health legislation and provide a coherent basis for all future EU actions concerning animal health”, she said.

The Animal Health Law will cover many different areas such as animal disease control, disease surveillance, the role of veterinary services and animal keepers, intra-community trade, imports of animals and products, and many others. IFAH-Europe is pleased with this effort to streamline the regulatory environment, which should lead to a better availability of medicines and animal health products on the market.  

The European Commission’s DG SANCO(*) and our colleagues from the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE) co-organised EU Veterinary Week 2009 alongside the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). Dr. Carolin Schumacher spoke on behalf of IFAH-Europe at a panel discussion devoted to rabies. IFAH-Europe also had a documentation stand at the event.

For more information on EU Veterinary Week, please visit
For more information on the European Commission Animal Health strategy 2007-2013, please visit this website.

(*) Directorate-General for Health and Consumer Protection

Caroline Lucas MEP elected President of the Intergroup on the Welfare and Conservation of Animals.

Following the election of the European Parliament this summer, the Intergroup on the Welfare and Conservation of Animals recently appointed British Green MEP Caroline Lucas as President during the first half of this parliamentary term.

IFAH-Europe welcomes Ms Lucas and looks forward to the Intergroup’s continued effort to defend animal welfare in the European Union.
For further information on the Intergroup, please visit

News from IFAH-Europe

DISCONTOOLS disease database goes live

New and improved vaccines, diagnostics and pharmaceuticals are required for a wide range of major animal diseases. Effective tools for controlling animal diseases are of major social and economic importance not only for Europe but also for the rest of the world.

To support these goals, DISCONTOOLS launched its website on 18 September 2009: At its core is an interactive disease database where researchers and academics all over the world will be invited to exchange information on a series of selected priority animal diseases to identify the gaps in current knowledge and to determine the status of the current control tools. By allowing a cross-sectoral and international exchange of information on the state-of-play of research and development, DISCONTOOLS ensures that technological advances are used to maximum effect across the globe.

The database, which is currently completing its testing phase, will shortly be open for consultation and contribution.

DISCONTOOLS is a four-year FP7 project started in 2007 by recommendation of the ETPGAH(*) Action Plan. This project is an initiative by industry and the research community and has the support of the European Commission services. It is led by IFAH-Europe and integrates all relevant stakeholders at international, EU and national levels from academia, research, farmers, veterinarians, industry, consumers, regulators, etc. DISCONTOOLS also includes stakeholders from international organisations such as the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

(*) European Technology Platform for Global Animal Health. See website

European Pet Night 2010 - mark your agendas

EPN logo

European Pet Night will be held on 24 February 2010, hosted by Caroline Lucas MEP, president of the parliamentary intergroup on the welfare and conservation of animals. Mark your agendas for an evening reception dedicated to the importance of companion animlals and their numerous benefits to society.

This is a registration only event held in the European Parliament, please contact [email protected] to receive an invitation.

Animal Health News

H1N1 update: pigs and turkeys found to have H1N1

The influenza A H1N1 virus has been found in pigs and turkeys, most likely through exposure from farmers or farm workers. The animal health industry is vigilant and continues to work with authorities to help minimise the spread if the virus.

Importantly, IFAH-Europe repeats that there are no food-safety issues related to this virus as it cannot be passed to humans through food, by eating properly cooked meat or meat products.

The current H1N1 outbreak is often erroneously referred to as “swine flu”. This outbreak is actually one of a human disease different from swine influenza viruses that can be found in pigs (which also contains genes from avian and human influenza viruses). It is caused by a novel, reassorted influenza A virus, type H1N1, now known as the Influenza A(H1N1) virus and is transmitted predominantly from person to person.

IFAH-Europe has adopted a statement prepared by its global federation IFAH on the influenza A pandemic. The IFAH statement also offers a detailed Q&A section on Swine flu in pigs and many useful links on the disease.

Animal Health Explained


Rabies exemplifies cross-overs between human and animal health and the need for an approach that unifies veterinary and human medicine. 

Rabies is regarded as the world’s most important zoonotic viral disease maintained in domestic and wild carnivores and bats all over the world. It is transmitted to other animals and humans through close contacts with saliva from infected animals (i.e. bites, scratches, licks on broken skin and mucous membranes). Once symptoms of the disease appear, rabies is fatal to both animals and humans. (source WHO)

Despite being 100% preventable, one person dies from rabies every ten minutes. It is estimated that 52,560 people die worldwide from rabies each year. Children are particularly at risk, with almost half of all rabies deaths occurring in children under 15 years. The main source of human exposure to rabies, especially in children, is from dogs. Rabies can be transmitted from dogs not vaccinated against the disease. Unfortunately, vaccination is neglected in many parts of the world.

28 September marks World Rabies Day since 2007.

Veterinary medicines and food safety, healthy animals = safe food

IFAH, the international federation for animal health, published in August a brochure on veterinary medicines and food safety. The 30-pages booklet explains the contribution of the animal health industry to the production of safe food for the benefit of consumers throughout the world. It is a wealth of information in a consumer-friendly format about the regulation and monitoring of veterinary medicines residues in foodstuff of animal origin, a topic that recently took centre-stage in the EU as the legislation on “MRLs”  was being reviewed.

The brochure is available online.

Calendar of Events

• 6 November 2009, Brussels (Belgium) Annual conference of the European Partnership for Alternative Approaches to Animal Testing (EPAA) on "Dissemination of 3Rs information", programme
• 11-12 November 2009, Athens (Greece), GLOBALGAP’s Good Agricultural Practice Tour 2009,
• 19 November 2009, ECDC European Antibitioc Awareness Day, more information here
2-4 December 2009, Damascus (Syria), OIE Conference on Veterinary Medicinal Products in the Middle East, more information here
• 24 February 2010, Brussels (Belgium) European Pet Night 2010 in the European Parliament
• 11-15 May 2010, Tel Aviv (Israel), 5th international conference on antimicrobial agents in veterinary medicine (AAVM), website